Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thursday Romance - Made for Each Other (1939) starring Carole Lombard and James Stewart

How soon is too soon? That's the question asked (and answered?) by Jimmy Stewart and Carole Lombard in today's feature. Though the real question may well be "how sweet is too sweet?"

Released in the same year that Mr. Smith was sent to D.C. (Stewart actually had four movies come out in 1939, the second of three years straight that would see him perform that feat), and seven years before George Bailey found out how angels get their wings, one can't help but wonder if Frank Capra didn't see this film and figure that Stewart would be perfect to play the over-blown, overly-earnest saps that he was trying to cast, because that's certainly what he brings to the table here.

From the premise (A lawyer is sent to represent to represent his firm in D.C.. While there, he meets a beautiful woman and after a single day of courtship, they get married. When he's suddenly called back home by his demanding boss, they must return to meet not only the boss, but the groom's extremely disapproving mother, and to try to figure out how to make a go of this new life together.) you might expect a broad comedy along the lines of the movies Cary Grant was making with any number of leading ladies at the time, but if you go into this film expecting that you are going to be sorely disappointed. Instead the film quickly turns maudlin as Stewart is passed over for a partnership in his law firm, Lombard can do nothing to please her harridan mother-in-law, and their newborn baby falls ill to a disease which requires medicine to be flown in from 5000 miles away through a horrendous storm, which of course the young couple can't afford without Stewart begging his boss for a loan.

Throughout the movie, Lombard is, of course, radiant and stalwart, and Stewart plays the part of the earnest, stammering, put upon husband with his usual style and grace, but in the end the script simply falls too much into melodrama that at the end the relief that the viewer feels is not that of joy that these two have finally found that their love can conquer any hardship, but that we don't have to endure those hardships with them any longer.

Still, there is certainly an audience for this film. If you are one of those who believes that the people of Bedford Falls were right in bailing out George Bailey after he almost drove his savings and loan company into bankruptcy by overextending loans to those who had no way to repay them, or if you believe that Jefferson Smith was right in staging a filibuster that was only stopped by his collapse and another senator attempting suicide in order to get his pet earmark passed, then you'll probably also enjoy this romance.

Again, there doesn't appear to be a proper trailer online, so I've embedded the first few minutes of the movie below to give you a taste:

Ok, time for the skinny again:
Title: Made for Each Other
Release Date: 1939
Running Time: 92 min.
Black and White
Stars: Jimmy Stewart, Carole Lombard
Director: John Cromwell
Producer: David O Selznick
Studio: Selznick International Pictures

You can watch or download the movie here.
The movie is also available for purchase on DVD from Amazon: Made For Each Other.
Or you can rent the DVD from Netflix: Made for Each Other.

Until next time, Happy Treasure Hunting

-Professor Damian


Shan Overton said...

I haven't seen this one, Prof. Damian, but I protest your digs at two of Jimmy Stewart's films I happen to love! Maybe I will enjoy this romance since it seems to fall into the same category with It's a Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington? Quite possibly.

Professor Damian said...

Hey, protests are always welcome! And yeah, if you're a Capra fan, I'd definitely say this is a movie for you. Personally, I thought it was a bit too saccharine, but hey, some people like the sweet!

Thanks for reading,

Post a Comment

Unless otherwise noted, all movies discussed on this blog and all associated materials are believed to be in the Public Domain. If you are a copyright holder for any of these materials, please email me. Unless otherwise noted, all material created for this blog by Professor Damian is licensed under a Creative Commons license as described below. Creative Commons License
Professor Damian's Public Domain Treasure Chest by Professor Damian is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Powered by Blogger Blogger Templates create by Deluxe Templates. WP by Masterplan